Children, Sleep and Snoring
Most children snore on occasion, and about 10 percent or more snore when they sleep at night. Snoring is a noise that occurs during sleep when the child is breathing in and there is some blockage of air passing through the back of the mouth. A stuffy nose or allergies can sometimes lead to snoring in children, but loud and regular nightly snoring is often abnormal in otherwise healthy children and may be a symptom of sleep apnea.
Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea may contribute to daytime sleepiness and behavioral problems including difficulties at school. In one recent study presented at the American College of Chest Physicians, children who snored loudly were twice as likely to have learning problems. Following a night of poor sleep, children are also more likely to be hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. These are also signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Apnea may also be associated with delayed growth and cardiovascular problems.
Sleep problems will not magically disappear, so it is important to identify them early. Parents should also know there are many resources to help them. There are several quality books, as well as pediatricians and people who are certified in both sleep medicine and pediatrics. If your physician orders a sleep study for your child, prepare for your appointment and make it a fun evening for your child. You’ll both sleep better.